Business email is one of those things that we love to hate. We spend our working lives trying to get away from it and looking for ways to reduce it, but when it’s not available we grind to a halt.
“We run our business on an email process.”
Business Email System
“We run our business on email” is a very common phrase we hear when doing our initial consultations with customers. Further investigation nearly always reduces this to “we run our business on an email process”. The difference is subtle but very important; a business that runs on an email system like Google business email needs the ability receive blocks of text and images, and send blocks of text and images.
The Business Email Process
Businesses that run on an email process use email as a medium for all of their other tools and software:
- CRM systems
- Mapping and integration into ERP and PSA systems
- Automating finance and accounting systems
- Managing events and calendars
- Accessing files internally
- Sharing files externally
The Invisible Glue
This type of email process is something we take for granted even more than email itself. When executed well it is invisible, but it lives on a complex web of service integration that is driven by things that require acronyms and flow-charts to explain.
As we move at speed into a world where users and employees can access their business applications from anywhere, and on anything, the days of doing this integration at the user-side has passed us.
Try setting up your Google business email system to automatically perform an action in your Gmail based on something that happens in your CRM system – you just can’t, and neither can your IT department. Today these things have to be done server-side, and for that to happen you need tight integration between the servers that you control and those that you outsource to your email provider.
Buy Systems, Not Applications
Microsoft has been much maligned for decades for providing piecemeal solutions; selling bricks rather than houses. The fanfare when Google announced its rent-a-house business email solution has died down as larger businesses realise that living in someone else’s house has its disadvantages; you have to live by their rules.
The Importance of Google Apps Alternatives
The advent of Google Apps, and formerly Google Apps alternatives like Zoho and Salesforce, changed the conversation for the benefit of the consumer and drove the industry, including Microsoft, from selling individual bricks to selling solutions. You no longer buy an Exchange server, you buy an email solution. But as eVantage Technology has discovered, companies don’t need an email solution, they need an email process solution, and this requires some thought about the rest of your business and how it’s going to work with your new email system.
The Google Business Email House
The Google business email system is a self-contained “rent-a-house” solution that works very well for many companies, generally smaller companies that have to worry about upfront cash costs more than long term Total Cost of Ownership (TCO). When it comes to needing an integration platform for your business email process, it may be time to look at Google Apps alternatives.
Google Apps Alternative
Microsoft currently has a 95% market share in business productivity applications and a 75% share in server operating systems. These numbers are higher in the midmarket sector where the money isn’t available to move to integrated non-Microsoft systems.
It’s a statistical probability that your company is already running most of its business-critical applications on a Microsoft platform of some kind.
The ability to administer Office 365 via the command line to perform advanced technical administration and integration tasks, as well as Microsoft’s development of a single, standard authentication platform called Azure Active Directory and the almost universal use of Microsoft Outlook in business today makes them a contender for providing a platform for your business email system.